just back

Old Apr 25th, 2000, 03:07 PM
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just back

We're just back from Venice and Florence if you have any questions. We arrived by plane in Milan and used trains for rest of the trip.
Old Apr 25th, 2000, 07:41 PM
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Hi, Kim. Here are my questions to you.

1) Where did you stay in each of cities you visited? How did you like them?

2) What are the most impressive things you saw or experienced?

3) How would you do differently if you were to go back and do it again?

I love to hear your stories. Thank you.
Old Apr 25th, 2000, 07:53 PM
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Hi, Kim
Did you purchase tickets there in Italy or did it advance? How about seat reservations?
Could you give me details about this?

We will be doing the same thing. but aside from Venice and Florence also Rome.

I would appreciate any information you could share with us.
Old Apr 25th, 2000, 08:09 PM
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Hi Kim,

I will touring Italy in October. Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence & Pisa.

So how long did you stay in Venice and Florence? Was it enough?

Where did you buy your train tickets? Is it advisable to book them in advance or just buy them when you are there?

Which hotels did you stay in and were they okay?
Old Apr 25th, 2000, 08:15 PM
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We will be traveling to Italy in August. We will fly in to Milan and then will travel by train to Venice-Rome then back to Milan. Should we buy tickets here before we leave or what do you recommend. After reading quite a few posts on trains I think we would prefer to get reservations for 1st class. What about an overnight train from Rome back to Milan??
Old Apr 26th, 2000, 06:04 AM
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Hope you had a wonderful time.

Yes, please discuss using the trains, deciding which one to take, getting your tickets, etc.

Also do you have any recommendations for dining in both cities?

And what kind of luggage did you use? Wheeled? Backpack? Other How was that experience?

I too like the question about what you would do differently, if anything, for next time.

Thanks very much.
Old Apr 26th, 2000, 07:02 AM
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Hi! Along with everyone else's more interesting questions, I have the most mundane question: in your opinion, the relative advantages/disadvantages of staying near Malpensa airport for early flight out. Alternative is staying within Milan and traveling out to airport the morning of our flight. We will be arriving Milan from Florence via train late Friday night. My traveling companions would prefer to stay very close to airport so as to avoid the morning rush out there; but my concern is getting from Milan proper to airport hotel late on a Friday night...will it be a hassle, etc.
Any experiences, thoughts are gratefully appreciated.
And, I will be looking at responses on train travel/reservations, reflections on Venice & Florence, as we are doing same at end of June.
Old Apr 26th, 2000, 09:46 AM
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Since we arrived back about two weeks ago from a trip to Venice & Florence I thought I'd also share our own travel experience. This was our first trip to Italy and we took along our 10 month old daughter who turned out to be a great traveler.
We flew in and out of Venice. The first two nights we spent in Venice, the next three in Florence and the last two back in Venice.
In Venice we stayed at Hotel Bernardi Semenzato. We're budget travelers and this hotel has a high recommendation from Fodors. We however wouldn't highly recommend it. Thin walls, disappointing breakfasts, not permitted to make calls to U.S. (I was told they had prior problems with folks not paying their bill). On the plus side we liked the location. We paid 190,000 lire per night. Next time we'll try another hotel.
In Florence we stayed at Hotel Belletini. This is another Fodor's highly recommended and it was great. Excellent location, big room, wonderful breakfast and friendly, helpful service. We paid 200,000 lire per night.
We bought our train ticket from Venice to Florence the day before using it. We traveled to Florence on a Saturday in second class on the Eurostar and it was very nice. Not crowded and pretty scenery. From Florence to Venice we also purchased the day before. That day of traveling was a Tuesday and the train was pretty full. We had also purchased round trip tickets to Pisa from Florence 20 minutes before departure and the train had many empty seats. We only paid $8 US for each round trip ticket - a great bargain! We traveled there on a Monday and really enjoyed Pisa.
We were budget diners and so don't have any strong recommendations. Everywhere we went we enjoyed the food. The gelato especially!
For luggage we brought carry-on luggage only. One pull behind with a separate bag that sat on top. We used a backpack carrier for our daughter. Traveling light is the only way to go!
We really enjoyed our trip. Venice was just awesome. We loved the lack of autos and vespas. It was quiet and relaxing.
The only thing we would have done differently is learned more Italian. Communication was not difficult but it would have been more enjoyable if we could have communicated in the native language.
Happy travels to all.
Old Apr 26th, 2000, 06:23 PM
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Hello Everyone:
This may be kind of long but I hope helps your planning. In Venice we, as did Tom, stayed at Hotel Bernardi Semenzato. I agree that with Toms opinion of the hotel. I would probably stay somewhere else next time simply for a different experience but would not be opposed to staying there again, if that makes sense. I also agree with him that Venice is awesome but we found that two days was enough for us. We spent 5 days in Florence and stayed at the Hotel Pagnini which was recommended and wonderful. It costs about $120 per night and they will bring breakfast to your room, no charge. Very nice hotel we would definitly stay there again. On the street behind the hotel there are a couple of great restaurants. One is call "Osteria Il Mostrino." The other, I believe is called Profesorio. We also ate at a restaurant called "belle donne" on a street by the same name. The hotel staff at Pagnini is great and can direct you. I must say, we never had one bad meal in Italy. In Venice one standout was the "Madonna" something, something. Everyone seems to know it, just ask. In Milan, on the way home, we stayed at a terrific and beautiful hotel called "Villa Malpensa." Just beautiful and five minutes from the airport. You can actually see the airport from there but hear no noise. If you're there during the day you can walk around the entire estate which seems to go on and on. Our only regret was that we did not arrive earlier in the day. Virginia, from Milano Centrale, take a subway to Cadorna station where you can pick up the Malpensa Express to the airport and cab to hotel. I will look up website for this for you if you want.
Hotel site: malpensa.it/hotelvilla/contact.htm.
As for rail tickets, we always buy them in advance and in Italy I would definitely go first class, especially if you don't like smoking. We used 2nd class tickets in other parts of Europe last summer and that was just fine. We also made reservations when purchasing the tickets. You can change reservations at various train stations at no additional charge if plans change. I called Raileurope at 1-800-848-7245. They are very helpful. I also agree with Tom that light packing is definitely the way to go. One wheeled carry-on each and a backpack for each was enough for us for 10 days. Pack a small bag in which to carry souvenirs home and check your roll-on bag on the way back to the U.S.
As far as memorable things: Venice in general, the churches and architecture in Florence, the opera in Florence (we saw Tosca) and a day tour we took while in Florence. The weather was cloudy and cold while were there so we sort of felt "trapped" in the city which can make one feel a bit claustrophobic. Also, it is very crowded in Venice and especially Florence. The day tour was terrific. We found the brochure at Hotel Pagnini for "the accidental tourist" (www.accidentaltourist.com). They pick you up in Florence and will take you hiking, biking or for a cooking class at the Rossi (of martini & rossi) Villa in the country. It was one of the best things we did while in Florence. They showed us wine and olive making and, of course we tried both. Then, while my husband when on a hike, I learned to make homemade ravioli with Francesca. My husband and I were the only ones who signed up that day and we (Francesca too) ate lunch, drank wine and learned all about Italy and Italians from Francesca. Wonderful! I would ask for her if you call the company, she is great.
I'm going out on a limb with this one but, what we would not do again: wait in line to get into the Uffzi.
It was a special holiday so they would take no reservations. Museum opened at 8:30 a.m. we arrived at 9 a.m. and waited for 3 hours to get in. Others in line with us who we saw later said they saw all they wanted to see in less than one hour. We agreed. In know it's supposed to be great art, and it is, but it does not have the diversity of the Metropolitan Museum for example. Most all in Uffizi is Madonna and baby Jesus or Jesus on the cross. Important sure, and it was interesting to see the transformation from the 13th through 17th centuries, but it wasn't what we expected. We know, we know, expect lot's of religious art in Italy. We preferred the churches and architecture. Well, sorry this has been so long. Please let me know if there are more questions. One more thing, prices in Italy are very good right now as the dollar is very strong. The restaurants I recommended, for example, cost $50 or less for two including lots of food, wine and tip.

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